Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Diplomacy and International Relations

First Advisor

Dr. Orli Fridman


Immigration is one of the most debated issues in the United States. Research on these populations has been limited and often lacks the perspectives of undocumented individuals. Using qualitative research methods through semi-structured interviews, this study explores the perspectives of undocumented young adults in California. The study was guided by the following research questions: What are the identity challenges undocumented young adults face? How do undocumented young adults from Mexico view themselves in the United States today? How has the lack of U.S. citizenship and the discourse surrounding immigration affect the way they view themselves? All participants discussed living in a constant state of fear and uncertainty. Fears contributed to hesitancy to participate in associative citizenship practices resulting in limited political engagement. Lack of access to higher education, financial assistance, and other state and federal programs affected participants negatively. When discussing perceptions of citizenship, views varied among participants. Media and public discourse were observed as negative and affected the participants adversely. This study adds insight to the challenges of navigating life in the U.S. while being undocumented. These findings demonstrate the urgency for the American public to engage in positive productive dialog to change the discourse and culture on this topic to have a positive effect on the policies and laws implemented in the U.S.

Keywords: undocumented immigrants, immigration, associative citizenship, discursive practices, United States


American Politics | International Relations


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